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RAC Says Over A Quarter Of Drivers Risk Their Safety By Driving Non-Stop For Five Or More Hours Abroad

According to a survey carried out by the RAC European Breakdown service, 27% of drivers who have taken their own cars abroad to Europe have driven non-stop for five or more hours, and one in ten have driven for more than 10 hours straight. Excessive driving without a break puts drivers and other road users at risk of an accident.

Here is a summary of the survey results and what it means for drivers and other road users.

RAC Research Results

The research was conducted by the UK insurance company among 2,500 UK drivers of which four-in-10 (39%) have driven in Europe. It not only shows the extent to which drivers are prepared to drive for longer when going abroad but the difference between men and women on the roads.

The research shows that drivers are prepared to drive for longer when going abroad, with 16% saying they’ve driven without rest for six or more hours when overseas compared to 12% who have done so in the UK.

This may be due to several factors, including a desire to reach their destination quickly or a lack of familiarity with the roads and driving conditions in other countries.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that tiredness can be just as dangerous behind the wheel as alcohol or drugs. If you’re feeling tired, take a break and stretch your legs – it could save your life.

More Men Drive For Over Seven Hours Than Women

More Men Drive For Over Seven Hours Than Women


Furthermore, the results of the survey show that 10% of respondents had driven for seven or more hours without a break when abroad. In contrast, only 6% said they had done so in the UK.

When it comes to men and women, there were more stark contrasts here too. Men were significantly more likely to drive for longer than women, with 31% of male drivers admitting to driving for five or more hours in Europe without a break, with 19% driving for more than six hours.

This is compared to 18% of women who said they had surpassed five or more hours non-stop and 11% who clocked up six or more hours on the road in one go.

What Are The Rules On Driving Stints & Rest Periods?

According to the Highway Code, drivers should take a break of at least 15 minutes for every two hours of driving but the RAC’s figures show that UK motorists are putting themselves at risk by driving for long periods without a break.

EU rules state that drivers of goods vehicles, buses, and coaches must take a break of at least 45 minutes for every four-and-a-half hours of driving, but again the survey shows that many UK motorists are driving for much longer than this without taking a break.

The Outcome

As a result, it’s clear to see from the survey that drivers are not meeting the required rest periods when driving at home or abroad. The result is that this puts them at risk of fatigue and increases the chance of an accident, as well as contributing to congestion and increasing the wear and tear on vehicles.

It also puts other road users at risk, as tired drivers are more likely to make mistakes. If you’re feeling tired when driving, pull over and take a break. It could save your life

What Else Did The Survey Show?

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to worsen, the study also sought to determine how many people are changing their holiday plans as a result and whether they follow the rules for driving abroad when taking their vehicles away with them.

The survey showed that:

  • Nearly one-fifth of people say they will be cutting back on their spending while away or taking a shorter break to start with and 9% will be staying in the UK instead, whilst 3% of those surveyed said they would travel to France or beyond to save money on holiday.
  • Of those questioned, only 28% knew the number to ring in an emergency when driving in Europe. (112)
  • There was also confusion over the correct letters to display on cars. UK drivers must (since Sept 21) display a GB sticker on their vehicle when driving in Europe. 16% weren’t planning on doing this at all.


Tiredness kills, so the results of the survey about driving abroad are alarming as it’s clear to see that UK drivers are putting themselves in unnecessary danger on unfamiliar roads when travelling in Europe and taking long trips on familiar roads too.

To stay safe and minimise the chance of an accident due to tiredness, we recommend planning to take regular breaks, learning the rules of the road of the country you are driving in, and making sure you know what number to call in an emergency before embarking on a trip that involves driving for long periods either in the UK or abroad.

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

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